Tribune Print Share Text

Teamwork key to Parkville community’s harmony

Survey shows majority of community members recommend Oak Crest

Created date

October 25th, 2011

The adage two heads are better than one, or, in this case, 2,000-some heads are better than two, rings true for Oak Crest. Thanks to an on-going partnership between the residents and staff, this Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., remains at the top of its game. And according to a recent resident satisfaction survey, 93% of its community members state they would recommend the community to friends or family.

High impact

Holleran, a research services company that specializes in survey development, data collection, analysis, and reporting, measures Oak Crest s improvement from year to year, as well as how it compares to 300 similar continuing care retirement communities in the U.S., including other Erickson Living communities. We take the survey very seriously, says Oak Crest Executive Director Colleen LoPresto. We evaluate every recommendation from the survey as well as the regular feedback we receive from our residents. We also consider what kind of an impact change will have on residents as well as the cost of implementing those ideas before we make any changes. LoPresto says the staff at Oak Crest offers a variety of opportunities for community members to voice their opinions and stay abreast of the latest news regarding the community. We host biannual town hall meetings, small group dinners with our residents, and we also have comment cards available in every restaurant on campus, says LoPresto.

Better together

The Resident Advisory Council (RAC) also plays an important role within the community, acting as a liaison between Oak Crest residents, management, and the board of directors. The RAC serves as a voice for residents regarding their comfort, safety, and satisfaction, much like local community associations across the country. Walter Ballesteros currently chairs the Oak Crest RAC. We re fortunate to have a very good relationship with the administration here at Oak Crest, Walter says. It all comes down to having mutual respect and understanding for each other in the way issues and concerns are addressed. The RAC maintains a registry of suggestions and is diligent about communicating them to management, as well as reporting on the progress of those suggestions to our fellow community members. A new vegetarian menu now offered in Oak Crest s Windows Restaurant is just one of many advancements resulting from that commitment to teamwork. We were receiving increasing requests for healthier menu options aside from the traditional salad bar or standard veggie burger, says Paul O Callaghan, Windows Restaurant manager. O Callaghan, along with an advisory board comprising Oak Crest residents, implemented the new menu featuring delicious meatless items such as couscous salad with roasted vegetables, meatless meatloaf, and a fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich. Other developments have also resulted from resident feedback, including creating outdoor dining areas; a new dance floor; implementing green practices through landscaping, recycling programs, and energy-saving initiatives like the green roof (fully landscaped rooftop garden) in the community s Renaissance Gardens neighborhood; and a new flexible meal plan. Together we have accomplished a lot, says LoPresto. But we won t rest on our laurels. In fact it s quite the opposite [the survey] inspires us to strive to do more and do better every day.